Silversea will look to utilise Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd’s (RCCL) Wi-Fi technology and “great expertise” when developing future ships, bosses have revealed, after RCCL acquired a majority stake in the luxury line for $1 billion.
The cruise giant shocked the sector last week when it swooped to take a 66.7% shareholding in family-owned Silversea – the deal set to be completed during the second half of 2018.
Speaking to TTG following the announcement, Silversea chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio and chief executive Roberto Martinoli said the agreement would allow the line to pursue a “much more aggressive” expansion strategy.
Silversea currently has nine ships, with two vessels on order for delivery in 2020 and 2021, as well as an option for another in 2023. “I would say the chance is quite high of taking that option,” said Martinoli.
Lefebvre d’Ovidio likened the decision to partner with RCCL, and long-term friend [RCCL’s chief executive and chairman] Richard Fain, as “like marrying off a daughter”.
Fain called Silversea a “crown jewel” of the cruise market, which could “achieve more long-term capacity growth” as part of a larger company than as a standalone brand.
Lefebvre d’Ovidio and Martinoli confirmed there would be no change to Silversea’s UK-based team, headed by managing director Peter Shanks, while Lefebvre d’Ovidio also pledged his own long-term future to the line.
“I have a commitment and a duty to our new partners in this venture,” he said.
When asked how Silversea may leverage its partnership with RCCL on future projects, Martinoli said he believed Silversea would “certainly consult with [Royal’s] great team” but “preserve our own brand identity”.
Questioned whether Silversea would adopt technology such as RCCL’s satellite-powered Voom Wi-Fi, he said: “For sure, with internet services we’ll look into all opportunities, whether we have more technological products onboard, that is less likely as it is not the nature of our business… we won’t have electronic wristbands but more back-end technologies.”
Martinoli said he had sailed with both Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International recently “for professional curiosity” ahead ofthe investment announcement.
“It has been very interesting,” he added. “They are doing some things we have to learn from but we will have some suggestions for them too.”